Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes is the highest-paid city employee in the greater Portland metro area.
According to a recent ranking from the Portland Business Journal, Holmes tops the list of the 50 highest-paid city employees across Portland and Vancouver and the Oregon cities of Hillsboro, Beaverton and Gresham with an annual salary of $247,279. The rankings were based on base salaries, excluding any bonuses or benefits.
In an email to The Columbian, Holmes said his salary falls around the median for managers of comparable cities.
“The city council has chosen to compensate me fairly and appropriately for the responsibility of my position and the results delivered,” Holmes wrote. “I am honored to serve as Vancouver’s city manager and grateful for the opportunity to earn my compensation every day.”
Five other Vancouver employees also made the highest-paid list.
No. 6 is Deputy City Manager Lenda Crawford, whose annual salary is $222,554. The 20th highest-paid city employee in the metro area is James McElvain, chief of the Vancouver Police Department, who made $185,258 this year. Former City Attorney Bronson Potter, who retired in August, was No. 37 with a salary of $177,848, followed immediately by Fire Chief Joe Molina at $177,828. Ward Knable, division fire chief, is the last Vancouver employee to make the list, with a salary of $174,432.
Portland Business Journal’s ranking is part of its ongoing Public Paychecks series. The list covered only city workers, excluding other kinds of public employees — such as coaches at state universities and hospital administrators, whose salaries can reach up into the millions.
In the context of the structure at Portland City Hall, it makes sense that Holmes would be paid higher than anyone employed by Vancouver’s larger neighbor: Portland does not employ a city manager.
Portland’s elected mayor, Ted Wheeler, handles the administration of city staff, and the city council directly manages the city’s various departments. Wheeler made $143,666 last year. Portland’s highest-paid employee is instead Police Chief Danielle Outlaw, who made $231,443 this year and ranked No. 2 on Portland Business Journal’s list.
“Vancouver City Council has one employee: We hire and fire the city manager,” Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle said in an interview Tuesday. “He’s in charge of everything else.”
Beaverton, too, has a mayoral structure instead of a city manager structure. Its highest-paid city employee is the mayor.